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Broadband speeds vary wildly throughout the day, with Britons seeing their connection speeds fluctuate by as much as a third over 24 hours, research conducted by Top 10.com has revealed.

We collated 250,000 speed tests conducted by our customers over a 90-day period and found the optimum time for web browsing is 2AM when the average speed is 7Mb.

But Britons using the internet in the evening after a hard day at the coalface aren’t anything like as lucky. They can expect a relatively slow average connection speed of 4.73Mb.

Alex Buttle from Top10.com attributes the disparity in connection speeds to techniques used by providers to manage web traffic and ensure that heavy users do not impair the internet experience for the majority of their customers.

He said: “Broadband is a bit like a motorway – speeds get slower at peak times because everyone’s trying to use it at once. But the broadband speed you get also depends to some extent on your broadband provider’s policy towards traffic shaping. Some broadband providers actively “throttle” broadband speed to ensure a consistent broadband experience for all consumers on their network.

“Some people view traffic shaping or “throttling” as a good thing because it helps manage demand and discourages heavy users from dominating the network. But other people, especially those who want to play games or watch TV online, get annoyed because their service can slow to a crawl.

“Our data shows how much provider speeds vary – but you need to check whether this will negatively affect how you use the web, or if it’s something you can live with.”

Average broadband speeds

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**Want to see the full results of our research? Head to our dedicated press release section to see the full press release

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